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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Three more enter guilty pleas in Mexico-to-Tulsa drug trafficking cartel

U.S. Attorney Trent Shores

Three additional men pleaded guilty this week for their roles in a heroin trafficking operation with ties to Mexico’s New Generation Cartel, announced U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

Jose Garcia Solis, 38; Oseil Serafin Calderon, 24; and Rudolph Gorniak, 29, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy.  Garcia, a “cell head” for the trafficking organization, was sent from Mexico to northeastern Oklahoma specifically to run the operation. He was responsible for overseeing the distribution of heroin to local dealers and for the collection of drug proceeds.

The three were among more than 30 individuals indicted in 2019 for drug conspiracy and other crimes related to the cartel’s heroin operations. The prosecution resulted from Operation Smack Dragon, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation.

“Cartels and their conspirators are responsible for flooding our communities with deadly drugs. They profit hand over fist while families are torn apart by addiction and loss,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “This prosecution highlights the diligent investigative work and cooperation between federal, state, and local partners in identifying, tracking, and dismantling this drug trafficking organization. We remain committed to protecting Oklahoma’s neighborhoods and communities.”

According to court documents, the transnational criminal organization’s hierarchy had clearly defined roles, as leaders from Mexico supplied heroin to the Tulsa “cell heads.” These “cell heads” were originally from Mexico but lived in Tulsa. Stille Giovanni Gutierrez Vivanco, allegedly directed, from Mexico, the overall drug trafficking operations in Tulsa by delegating responsibilities for the import and distribution of the heroin and for the movement of the proceeds from heroin sales.

The criminal organization smuggled heroin into the United States and transported the drug to storage locations in Tulsa where they prepared it for distribution throughout the United States. After preparing the heroin, the coconspirators would repackage it for distribution to mid-level distributers, who would then redistribute it to street-level dealers until it eventually found its way into the hands of customers.

“This investigation demonstrates Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) unique authorities and steadfast commitment to vigorously pursue members of transnational criminal organizations that exploit and endanger the American people,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge, HSI Dallas. “HSI will continue to use every available resource to protect communities and secure the homeland from dangerous contraband and the criminals who bring them into our country.”

“Investigations such as these cannot be successful without DEA Tulsa’s relationship with numerous law enforcement partners in Eastern Oklahoma and the Texoma High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Initiative,” said Eduardo A. Chávez, special agent in charge, DEA Dallas Field Division.  “These individuals are being held responsible for their actions. Whether it is a gram or a kilogram, heroin is poisoning our streets, and the DEA will never cease its efforts to rid these drugs from the streets of Oklahoma.”

In his Sept. 4 plea agreement, Jose Garcia Solis admitted that from November 2018 through June 2019, he knowingly conspired with others to distribute heroin. Garcia stated that he supplied heroin to numerous individuals for re-distribution, collected payment from dealers and returned the funds to the Mexican source of supply. U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan set sentencing for December 8, 2020.

On September 3, 2020, Oseil Serafin Calderon pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute heroin from January 2019 through June 2019. Specifically, the defendant assisted in delivering heroin to Jose Garcia by transporting the heroin from Southern California to the northeastern Oklahoma. He also assisted in collecting drug proceeds from Garcia. U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan set sentencing for December 7, 2020.

On September. 2, 2020, Rudolph Gorniak pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to distribute heroin from January 2019 through June 2019, he conspired with others to distribute heroin. Over the course of several weeks, Gorniak purchased quantities of heroin from defendants Alphonso Caldwell and Devin Hartzell. He purchased heroin, redistributed it to third parties, and relied on the payment from customers to purchase additional heroin.  U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan set sentencing for December 4, 2020.

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